Dec 22, 2009

The media, part (mumble dozen)

AP real estate writer Alan Zibel tell us this morning that homes sales "surged" last month, "reflecting an extraordinary level of federal support that has pulled the housing market back from the worst downturn since the Great Depression."

Not quite, Al, and your own choice of words suggests the contradiction.

"Federal support " of a "market" is a serious oxymoron. Governments may disrupt markets, or distort them, or end them altogether. If fact, governments often do. But markets either support themselves or they are something other than markets.

This federal support you cite reflects the will of federal regulators who decide which citizens may or may not receive mortgages with which to buy homes. The same gaggle also decides what homes are worth in dollars, largely by controlling the current and expected value of the currency .

One proper lead (there are others, of course) could have been written thusly: "Home transfers rose in November as unprecedented federal spending further eroded confidence in the American dollar, accelerating the flight from the greenback to tangible assets."

You'd need a little evidence to back that up, but God knows it isn't hard to find.

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